Called To Serve

Called To Serve
I am so excited for this opportunity to serve the people in Ghana for the next 2 years! Hope you enjoy all the letters and pictures!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Take Up His Cross

How are you my Friends and Family?! 
The correct response to that question in Ghana is "God's Grace." They know that everything they have been given is through the grace of God so I love it when they say that! That is one of the many things I will be taking away from my mission.

This week was amazing. It was full of challenges and a lot of disappointment but I spent a lot of time on my knees thanking and pleading with the Lord and my Heavenly Father for charity and patience. And by the end of the week the blessings that Elder Fayeampah and I saw washed away all of the terrible feelings that we had felt. I love this Gospel and I love the opportunity that I have been given to serve the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind and strength.

On Saturday I was able to baptize a young girl named Christie. She is 10 years old and lives in a family where part of the family is active in the church. She is also one of the sweetest little girls I know. At first she was really afraid of me. Her grandmother (Mama O.) said she wanted her to be baptized and we started visiting her to teach her some lessons about the church that young people need to know to be baptized. But the first time we went she put some chairs down for us to sit on and then sat as far away from us as her grandma would let her. She wouldn't look anywhere except for the ground and she hardly spoke above a whisper. By the end she had changed so much. We became very close and when we see each other we always share a big smile, and I love Christie's smiles. Her smile is full of joy and whenever I see it my heart becomes so light. This Saturday I had the opportunity to baptized her. When it was time I walked down into the font and I turned and was able to watch little Christie dressed in white take those steps down into the water to stand by me, and the whole time she was showing her beautiful smile. I could feel how proud her Heavenly Father was that she chose to exercise her faith and to follow Christ. And as she held my arm I also thought of the day when I will be able to meet her in heaven and be able to rejoice with her. And we will share a smile once again. I finished the baptism by fully immersing her in the water and bringing her back up and we held hands as we walked out of the font. It was an experience that I will never forget. I wish that we could all have the faith of my little Christie. 

The next day a miracle happened. Our ward starts at 8:00 and as missionaries we try to be there early so that we can welcome the ward. So at 7:30 we were there and were greeting everyone and waiting for our investigators. Well we waited, and waited and at 8:05 they had to start the meeting and not one investigator had showed up to church that day. I was devastated. I sat down in the front by a recent convert and I was so disappointed that we weren't able to get even one investigator there. For the Sacrament Hymn we sang the word: "There is a green hill far away without a city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all... There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, but we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there." As most of you know, the Bergeson's have this gene in them that makes them cry very easily, and as I sat and pondered that I wept. Christ had power to remove himself from that cross, but he continued to hang. He continued to suffer the pain and it was for us. For me and you. I just had to remember that this is his work and that I can't be disappointed when things don't go the way that I would like them. At the end of Sacrament Meeting I turned around and there sat an investigator! My prayers had been answered. 1 investigator isn't a lot but for me it was a testimony that my Heavenly Father loves me and that he is with me in this work. And then we were sitting in our next class and about half way through the door opened and in walked an investigator who we were planning on dropping this next week. My jaw dropped and my companion turned around to look at me and we could only smile, we were so happy! It was a miracle that that investigator, Patrick, came. I was so thankful for the faith that he showed and the blessings that my Heavenly Father gave me that day.

Time for the hilarious story. Sunday night Christie's grandmother, Mama O., threw a birthday party for her grandson who turned 1. Elder Fayeampah and I helped her set up the tent and we hauled chairs. In Ghana whenever you carry anything heavy you carry it on your head so I carried 12 chairs on my head for about 500 yards, 3 times, and today I have a nice bruise right on my crown. She invited our whole missionary zone which is 26 missionaries and she fed us all. There was rice, jollofrice, fried fish, banku and HOT pepper plus all you can drink carbonated water and cake. It was amazing, but the best part was that there was a dance floor!! The DJ was playing some crazy African music and man it makes you want to move. Mama O. lives in our ward so the people she invited were mostly members in our ward and it was so funny to watch them dance. These 50 year old ladies were getting down and that's not something you see in the Moses Lake 6th Ward! But they were on the dance floor and then one of them saw me and started dancing her way towards me, grabbed me by the arm and pulled me on to the dance floor. And I just did the few African moves I know, the Shoki is a dance move and also the name of the song, and the crowd loved it. I got some compliments afterwards that my hips are "very flexible!" Thanks mom and dad! :)

Well this week I truly worked on forgetting myself and going to work. I read this week from Mathew 10:38 - 39 which says, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." I asked myself then, and I ask myself this question everyday. Am I taking up his cross? Am I losing myself in Him? If I even hesitate on my answer I know I can work harder. But something that I loved about this scripture is that it only tells us to pick up His cross and to follow Him. It doesn't tell us how fast we have to go! It doesn't even tell us how far we have to go. We only need to pick up that cross and take one step after another until we come to Christ. When we have done our part we will one day be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and rest from all the hardship that we experienced from walking with that cross. It will be hard today; if it wasn't hard then we would never get stronger. But I promise you that it WILL get better. Your Heavenly Father loves you and your Savior's arms are always extended towards you, waiting for you to come to Him. I love this work and the Spirit that it has brought into my life. And I know that this gospel can bring the same peace and happiness to you in your heart. But you have to do your part. Christ is there for us but we have to take up his cross and work towards him everyday. He will strengthen us. 
I love you all and ask for you to continue to pay for me and my companion Elder Fayeampah that we will be able to find the people who are prepared to hear this message.   


Elder Bergeson

Baptism of My Little Christie

Elder Bergeson carrying chairs on his head

Monday, October 19, 2015

Because of Diligence, Faith and Patience

Family and Friends!!!! Ow Fa Na?!
Because of Light Out (they turn the power off in Ghana for 12 hours and then have it on for 12 hours because there isn't enough power for everyone) we are in an internet cafe an hour and a half walk away from our apartment. But I have so many wonderful experiences to share with you that the walk and the sunburn will be worth it!

This week was marvelous as always. It was full of triumphs and struggles. Much happiness as we met with investigators who were doing the things that the Lord asks of them, and sadness as we literally watched a few of our investigators run away from us as they saw us coming. But my companion and I are praying for charity and patience every day and the Lord is blessing us as long as we ask for it. 

My first experience happened on Tuesday when we went to go see the 6 young men who I have named the Boys Club. We were walking up to their housing complex where we saw a few of them sitting underneath a tree. As soon as they saw us they just scattered in every direction, except ours, and in a few moments they were lost in the alleys of Teshie. They literally saw us and they ran! I mean, I know I can be a little scary looking since I sweat like crazy here, but I am a normal human being! I was so disappointed. I had been praying a lot for them that they would accept the message we had prepared for them that day, but they were all gone. There were only about 4 of them that ran away who were investigators. So, my companion and I sat down to call the other 2 young men and see if they were around so that we could meet with them. We got a hold of one and he said he was on his way. While we were waiting this huge, muscular black dude rode up on a bike and was just glaring at us. I smiled, hoping that wouldn't offend him because his arms where the size of my legs, but he just continued to glare. And then he walked over to this shed, unlocked it, and let out a HUGE dog. I mean this dog was easily the size of my Saint Bernard back home, which is something you almost never see in Ghana. The dogs that run around the streets here look more like cats, so I was so excited to actually see a dog that looked like a dog! After some time he chained the dog up near the tree and then sat down on the same bench as us that circles this tree. After some time of me debating on if I should say anything (since he had been glaring at us) I finally said, "Hey boss, what's your name?" He looked and after a few seconds on decided if he should respond, he told me his name was Nee. And then I asked him about his ginormous dog. The dogs name is Champ and he is a 1 year old Bull Mastiff. He told me that he actually breeds them in Ghana and that this dog had all of it's shots (I put that in for my mom so she doesn't get to angry for what happens next). I told him all about Sabra and then asked if I could pet it. He laughed but said that would be fine! We talked while I pet the dog and I asked what he did for a living and he told me that he was a prophet. And so I asked him what he believed. He told me a lot, but my favorite thing that he said was that in this life he doesn't fear anything. He will either fight as hard as he can and die, or he will survive and be stronger because of it. It reminded me of a scripture so I asked if I could share it and then asked if he would read it and he declined and said, "Be careful. I know your people's tricks!" I had to laugh at that one. Because I can honestly tell you that we don't have any tricks as missionaries. Just that we love the Lord and we are there to act as he would act and to say what he would say. Nee had to go and I don't know what will become of him, but he left saying how much he was impressed with me, being an 18 year old American serving a mission in Ghana. All I could think of was how blessed I am to have that opportunity.

This week we experienced another rain storm! But this one came while we were out in the Bush, which means there are only dirt roads and lots of mud if they get wet. It was around 5:30 and we were teaching Kwame, a 14 year old boy who will be getting baptized this week, a lesson.  I noticed that it was getting dark. It doesn't get dark until 6:00 so I was confused and then I got smacked by a huge gust of wind. My companion ended the lesson in a few seconds, which takes some skill, and then turned to me and said, "Elder Bergeson, say the prayer." He was so serious like our life would depend on how fast I said this prayer, and I said a very heartfelt, but very fast prayer because we were about to receive the shower of a life time. We stood up and grabbed our bikes and we were already feeling some small drops. We decided to go to an investigators house nearby where there was cover. We started going and the rain started coming. In Ghana people have metal roofs and you can know the rain is coming because it sounds like a roaring river is about to overtake you, so it gives you some incentive to ride faster! People were running everywhere, closing their stores in seconds; basically just grab everything and run for cover. About 30 seconds from the house we were going to, the rain hit us. I could barely see with the wind blowing the rain right into my face but all of a sudden I saw my companion zip right past me and I just heard him squealing: "Ride Elder, ride!!!!" I can still hear that and it makes me laugh even now. We made it though and waited for 3 hours until the rain stopped and then we slogged and slipped our way through the mud back to our apartment. What an adventure! 

Elder Fayeampah turned 25 this week so we threw him an awesome party! I woke up at 5:00 and got my washing done, then decorated the apartment with signs and balloons and then I made fruit smoothies for breakfast! Then that night for dinner I helped him make Jollofrice and Fried Chicken. And we ate and ate and ate. I am always hungry as a missionary and I think that is the only time on the mission that I can actually say I was full. But we had to finish it off with dessert! The other Elders in our apartment bought some cupcakes and I got some candles and we sang How Old Are You Now and he blew out his candles. We played games and took lots of pictures. It was truly a night of joy.

This week I learned a lot about Faith. In Alma Chapter 32, from the Book of Mormon, a prophet Alma compares Faith to a seed. First, you give place for a seed to grow. Second, you plant it. Third, you nurture it. Then you watch your seed swell and grow into a great tree and you will have the opportunity to taste of the fruit of your tree. Alma says in verse 42, "And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the [seed] in nourishing it... ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet." I read this and it gave me so much comfort. For some reason that day I had been doubting myself and thinking that I might not be able to endure and make it the two years as a missionary. But I read that and I knew that if I wanted to taste the fruit that is most precious and sweet, then I needed to do what the Lord had commanded me. My Savior loves me so much that he died for me. I need to show that I love Him by serving Him with all that I have. A mission is hard. Life is hard. Things don't go as planned. There is suffering. There is pain. There is disappointment. But if we continue with diligence, having faith in Jesus Christ and patience in His timing, then we will be able to taste of the fruit that each of us yearns for. For me that fruit is living with my family forever. I want that with all of my heart so I will continue with faith until that day when I get to partake of that delicious fruit. When life gets so difficult that you think you can't continue, just remember that fruit. "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

I love you all. I pray for you and I ask that you continue to pray for me. 


Elder Bergeson

Elder Bergeson at church

The Elders
"Preach the Gospel to every creature....
Just doing my job Mom"

Fresh hair cut

Birthday Breakfast for Elder Fayeampah

Elder Liongitau and Elder Bergeson
ready to eat their humongous dinner

Monday, October 12, 2015

Windows of Heaven

Malachi 3:10 
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse... and I will... open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

Hello Family and Friends,
The Lord has literally opened the windows of heaven this week for my companion and I, and all of Ghana. It was a marvelous, humbling and crazy week, as always.

I shared the scripture at the beginning about tithing for multiple reasons. First, I paid my Fast Offering last Sunday for this month and last month because I had forgotten to the month before. For those of you that are unfamiliar with a Fast Offering, on the first Sunday of each month the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sets that day apart for fasting. We fast for two consecutive meals and the money that we would have spent on meals that day are given to the Church to give to people that are in need. I had forgotten to pay it in September so I paid it for both months this last week. And I could not believe the blessings that we received this week. I'll talk first about the physical blessings. The first blessing we received happened that day. We were on our way back to Teshie from Accra and caught a Tro-Tro. The price for transportation back was 1 cedi (60 pesso) and we were pulling out our money to pay and I tried to give it to the man who was collecting but he shook his head and wouldn't take it. I asked why and he just pointed to a lady in the front row. This lady was a member from a neighboring town and had paid for my companion and I and when we went to get off she told us how proud she was that we were serving the Lord. It was so kind of her. The next day we were on our way back from Labadi and were again trying to catch a Tro-tro but none were stopping and we needed to be back in Teshie soon for a meeting that we had. I was worried for a couple minutes but suddenly a car pulled up and the person said, "Elders! Get in!" It was our Stake President and he gave us a ride all the way back to the apartment which saved us 1 cedi (40 pesso) and we made it on time to our appointment. The Lord blesses you when you obey His commandments, both physically and spiritually.

The second blessings came spiritually. This week Elder Fayeampah and I focused on finding. Finding is going out and looking for the people the Lord has prepared to hear His message. It takes a lot of Faith and a lot of listening to the Spirit. Elder Fayeampah was in charge and so I followed and learned so much from him. We just started walking and we ended up finding an area that we had never been in before. We didn't see anyone but we kept going and I kept praying. Finally, we see a young man and we stop and ask him if we could share a message with him. We found out that he used to meet with the missionaries but that he had moved and lost contact with them. He knows the Church is true and even reads from the Book of Mormon sometimes. So we bore testimony to him that it was not an accident that we had found him that day. We will be meeting with him more this week. After that we talked to a few more people and we were about to leave the area, when I looked over and saw a group of 6 young men in their 20's sitting under a tree on some benches. In my head I said to myself, "Let's get out of here before they notice us." because the guys aren't super nice and usually just like to argue with missionaries. But then my companion said, "Elder, let's go talk to those guys." They turned out to be some of the coolest guys I have ever met! They had so many questions for us and loved learning with us. It was like a big discussion, not a debate, and we all learned something. We laughed, I cried when I bore testimony to them of Joseph Smith being a prophet called of God in this dispensation, and they truly want to change their lives and follow Christ. By the end of the week we had 15 new investigators. I had been fasting and praying so much for this and the Lord heard me and has blessed me.

Finally, the windows of heaven were literally opened on Ghana. I experienced my first RAIN STORM!!! Elder Nissinen and I had left the apartment to go down the street to buy some salt and fresh vegetables so that I could make lunch. We walked outside to a cloudy afternoon and within 2 minutes the sky was dark and it was POURING! We were completely soaked in less than a minute. We walked back to the apartment (no sense in running since we were already soaked) just having a blast dancing and jumping in the rain of Ghana. I even sang a verse of "Singing in the Rain" as I pranced around the road. We were getting a lot of weird looks but it was so much fun. :) When we got to the apartment we took a shower under the water that was coming off of the roof. The funniest thing I saw was a boy who was outside just taking his shower in the rain! Just standing outside naked, covered in soap, letting the rain wash it off of him. I promised myself I would do that one day when I get home.

This week I learned a lot about Families. The family is kind of like riding a big tandem bike. You start off with a man and a woman who decide that they are going to ride a tandem bike together through the trail of life. They both get on and they start peddling. At first it is a little awkward; they have to get used to peddling together, leaning on the turns together and supporting each other. They travel far together, over hills and mountains, and after some time they decide to add another seat. They welcome a child and this child is very inexperienced in tandem biking. For a long time the parents actually have to do all of the work. They keep peddling with the added weight, without receiving any help from the child. But, knowing that someday the child will be a blessing. Then the parents keep adding seats. And they keep peddling with the extra weight; up hills and through the trails of life. One day the oldest child starts peddling and the younger ones see and also want to try. And we see that the family all starts peddling together on the trail of life. Now the family is not racing against anyone else, they just go their own speed and in the end they will all finish together. 
I loved this analogy so much. This week we were teaching a man named Mark. Mark loves coming to the Church and learning about it, and one night he asked me what blessing besides salvation come from joining the church. And without even thinking I bore my testimony to him of Eternal Families. I love my family so much and the knowledge that I have that this life is not the end. I will be able to live with them forever if I choose the right here on Earth. What a blessing! Our Heavenly Father put us on Earth in families so that we could learn how to love, work hard, grow spiritually, and eventually return to Him. But we will not return alone; we will return together to our Heavenly Father as a family. By the time I ended talking about it, I was crying and Mark couldn't stop smiling and saying how amazing this Church is. And he is right. This is Jesus Christ's church on the Earth and living by its teachings will bring us so much peace and joy.

I love you all and love hearing from you. Keep growing your testimony every day.


Elder Bergeson

Elder Bergeson in Rain Storm Fun
With Elder Missinen who loves the rain
because he is from Portland!
And, Elder Bergeson, "I'm from the dry part 
of Washington" face!

Apartment Picture during the Rain storm

Family Home Evening with the Otrema Family
(and they fed us after)

Elder Bergeson and Old Soldier
He will now only speak Twi so 
understanding is limited.

A picture of his area in Teshie
The kind of "roads" they ride their bikes on